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Hamburg (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), is the second largest city in Germany and the eighth largest city in the European Union. It is the second smallest German state by area. Its population is over 1.7 million people, and the Hamburg Metropolitan Region (including parts of the neighbouring Federal States of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) has more than 5 million inhabitants. The city is situated on the river Elbe.
The official name reflects its history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, a city-state, and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
Hamburg is a transport hub, being the 2nd largest port in Europe, and is an affluent city in Europe. It has become a media and industrial centre, with plants and facilities belonging to Airbus,Blohm + Voss and Aurubis. The radio and television broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk and publishers such as Gruner + Jahr and Spiegel-Verlag are pillars of the important media industry in Hamburg. Hamburg has been an important financial centre for centuries, and is the seat of the world's second oldest bank,Berenberg Bank.
The city is a notable tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors; it ranked 16th in the world for livability in 2015.
The ensemble Speicherstadt andKontorhausviertel was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in July 2015.
|POPULATION :||• City 1,774,242|
• Metro 5,046,182
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|RELIGION :||North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church 30%, Roman Catholic 10%, Muslims 9%|
|AREA :||755 km2 (292 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||53°33′55″N 10°00′05″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.1%|
• Female: 50.9%
|ETHNIC :||German 71% (1 231 993)|
Other European 14% (240 052)
Asian 6% (109 933)
Turkish 5% (92 766)
African 2% (34 847)
Hispanic and Caribbean 1% (16 224)
Other/Unknown 1% (20 958)
|AREA CODE :||040|
|POSTAL CODE :||20001–21149, 22001–22769|
|DIALING CODE :||+49 40|
Hamburg has more than 40 theatres, 60 museums and 100 music venues and clubs. In 2005, more than 18 million people visited concerts, exhibitions, theatres, cinemas, museums, and cultural events. More than 8,552 taxable companies (average size 3.16 employees) were engaged in the culture sector, which includes music, performing arts and literature. There are five companies in the creative sector per thousand residents (as compared to three in Berlin and 37 in London). Hamburg has entered the European Green Capital Award scheme, and was awarded the title of European Green Capital for 2011.
In 2007, more than 3,985,105 visitors with 7,402,423 overnight stays visited the city. The tourism sector employs more than 175,000 people full-time and brings in revenue of almost €9 billion, making the tourism industry a major economic force in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Hamburg has one of the fastest-growing tourism industries in Germany. From 2001 to 2007, the overnight stays in the city increased by 55.2% (Berlin +52.7%,Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania +33%).
A typical Hamburg visit includes a tour of the city hall and the grand church St. Michaelis (called the Michel), and visiting the old warehouse district (Speicherstadt) and the harbour promenade (Landungsbrücken). Sightseeing buses connect these points of interest. As Hamburg is one of the world's largest harbours many visitors take one of the harbour and/or canal boat tours (Große Hafenrundfahrt, Fleetfahrt) which start from the Landungsbrücken. Major destinations also include museums.
The area of Reeperbahn in the quarter St. Pauli is Europe's largest red light district and home of strip clubs, brothels, bars and nightclubs. The singer and actor Hans Albers is strongly associated with St. Pauli, and wrote the neighbourhood's unofficial anthem, "Auf der Reeperbahn Nachts um Halb Eins" ("On the Reeperbahn at Half Past Midnight") in the 1940s. The Beatles had stints on the Reeperbahn early in their careers. Others prefer the laid-back neighbourhood Schanze with its street cafés, or a barbecue on one of the beaches along the river Elbe. Hamburg's famous zoo, the Tierpark Hagenbeck, was founded in 1907 by Carl Hagenbeck as the first zoo with moated, barless enclosures.
In 2005, the average visitor spent two nights in Hamburg. The majority of visitors come from Germany. Most foreigners are European, especially from the United Kingdom (171,000 overnight stays), Switzerland (about 143,000 overnight stays), Austria (about 137,000 overnight stays) and the Netherlands(about 80,000 overnight stays). The largest group from outside Europe comes from the United States (129,000 overnight stays).
Claudius Ptolemy (2nd century CE) reported the first name for the vicinity as Treva.
The name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808. It rose on rocky terrain in a marsh between the River Alster and the River Elbe as a defence against Slavic incursion, and acquired the name Hammaburg, burg meaning castle or fort. The origin of the Hamma term remains uncertain, as does the exact location of the castle.
In 834, Hamburg was designated as the seat of a bishopric. The first bishop,Ansgar, became known as the Apostle of the North. Two years later, Hamburg was united with Bremen as the Bishopric of Hamburg-Bremen.
Hamburg was destroyed and occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and in 1214. The Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires, most notably in 1284.
In 1189, by imperial charter,Frederick I "Barbarossa" granted Hamburg the status of an Imperial Free City and tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea. In 1265, an allegedly forged letter was presented to or by the Rath of Hamburg. This charter, along with Hamburg's proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, quickly made it a major port in Northern Europe. Its trade alliance with Lübeck in 1241 marks the origin and core of the powerful Hanseatic League of trading cities. On 8 November 1266, a contract between Henry III and Hamburg's traders allowed them to establish ahanse in London. This was the first time in history that the word hanse was used for the trading guild of the Hanseatic League. In 1270, the solicitor of thesenate of Hamburg, Jordan von Boitzenburg, wrote the first description of civil, criminal and procedural law for a city in Germany in the German language, theOrdeelbook (Ordeel: sentence). On 10 August 1410, civil unrest forced a compromise (German: Rezeß, literally meaning: withdrawal). This is considered the first constitution of Hamburg. In 1529, the city embraced Lutheranism, and it received Reformed refugees from the Netherlands and France.
When Jan van Valckenborgh introduced a second layer to the fortifications to protect against the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth century, he extended Hamburg and created a "New Town" (Neustadt) whose street names still date from the grid system of roads he introduced.
Upon the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Free Imperial City of Hamburg was not incorporated into a larger administrative area while retaining special privileges (mediatised), but became a sovereign state with the official title of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Hamburg was briefly annexed by Napoleon I to the First French Empire (1804–1814/1815). Russian forces under General Bennigsen finally freed the city in 1814. Hamburg re-assumed its pre-1811 status as a city-state in 1814. The Vienna Congress of 1815 confirmed Hamburg's independence and it became one of 39 sovereign states of the German Confederation (1815–1866).
In 1842, about a quarter of the inner city was destroyed in the "Great Fire". The fire started on the night of 4 May and was not extinguished until 8 May. It destroyed three churches, the town hall, and many other buildings, killing 51 people and leaving an estimated 20,000 homeless. Reconstruction took more than 40 years.
After periodic political unrest, particularly in 1848, Hamburg adopted in 1860 a democratic constitution that provided for the election of the Senate, the governing body of the city-state, by adult taxpaying males. Other innovations included the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, freedom of the press, of assembly and association. Hamburg became a member of the North German Confederation (1866–1871) and of the German Empire (1871–1918), and maintained its self-ruling status during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933). The city experienced its fastest growth during the second half of the 19th century, when its population more than quadrupled to 800,000 as the growth of the city's Atlantic trade helped make it Europe's second-largest port. The Hamburg-America Line, with Albert Ballin as its director, became the world's largest transatlantic shipping company around the start of the 20th century. Shipping companies sailing to South America, Africa, India and East Asia were based in the city. Hamburg was the departure port for many Germans and Eastern Europeansto emigrate to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Trading communities from all over the world established themselves there.
A major outbreak of cholera in 1892 was badly handled by the city government, which retained an unusual degree of independence for a German city. About 8,600 died in the largest German epidemic of the late 19th century, and the last major cholera epidemic in a major city of the Western world.
Second World War
In the Third Reich (1933–1945), Hamburg was a Gau from 1934 until 1945. During the Second World War, Hamburg suffered a series of Allied air raids which devastated much of the city and the harbour. On 23 July 1943, RAF firebombing created a firestorm which spread from the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) and quickly moved south-east, completely destroying entire boroughs such as Hammerbrook,Billbrook and Hamm-south. Thousands of people perished in these densely populated working class boroughs. While some of the boroughs destroyed were rebuilt as residential districts after the war, others such as Hammerbrook are nowadays purely commercial districts with almost no residential population. The raids, codenamed Operation Gomorrahby the RAF, killed at least 42,600 civilians; the precise number is not known. About one million civilians were evacuated in the aftermath of the raids.
The Hamburg Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery is in the greater Ohlsdorf Cemetery in the north of Hamburg.
At least 42,900 people are thought to have perished in the Neuengamme concentration camp (about 25 km (16 mi) outside the city in the marshlands), mostly from epidemics and in the bombing of Kriegsmarine evacuation vessels by the Royal Air Force at the end of the war.
Hamburg had the greatest concentration of Jews in Germany. Systematic deportations of Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent started on 18 October 1941. These were all directed to Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe or to concentration camps. Most deported persons perished in the Holocaust. By the end of 1942 the Jüdischer Religionsverband in Hamburg was dissolved as an independent legal entity and its remaining assets and staff were assumed by the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (District Northwest). On 10 June 1943 the Reichssicherheitshauptamt dissolved the Reichsvereinigung by a decree. The few remaining employees not somewhat protected by a mixed marriage were deported from Hamburg on 23 June to Theresienstadt, where most of them perished.
Hamburg surrendered without a fight to British Forces on 3 May 1945. After the Second World War, Hamburg formed part of the British Zone of Occupation; it became a state of the then Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. From 1960 to 1962, the Beatles launched their career by playing in various music clubs in the city. On 16 February 1962, a North Sea flood caused the Elbe to rise to an all-time high, inundating one-fifth of Hamburg and killing more than 300 people.
The Inner German border — only 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of Hamburg — separated the city from most of its hinterland and reduced Hamburg's global trade. Since German reunification in 1990, and the accession of several Central European and Baltic States into the European Union in 2004, the Port of Hamburg has restarted ambitions for regaining its position as the region's largest deep-sea port for container shipping and its major commercial and trading centre.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate (Cfb), influenced by its proximity to the coast and marine air masses that originate over the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby wetlands also enjoy a maritime temperate climate. Snowfall differs a lot in the past decades: While in the late 1970s and early 1980s, heavy snowfall occurred, the winters of the 2000s were relatively mild with no or just little snowfall.
The warmest months are June, July, and August, with high temperatures of 20.1 to 22.5 °C (68.2 to 72.5 °F). The coldest are December, January, and February, with low temperatures of −0.3 to 1.0 °C (31.5 to 33.8 °F).
Climate data for Hamburg
|Record high °C (°F)||14.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||3.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||−22.8|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
Hamburg is on the southern point of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the north-east. It is on the River Elbe at its confluence with the Alster and Bille. The city centre is around the Binnenalster ("Inner Alster") and Außenalster ("Outer Alster"), both formed by damming the River Alster to create lakes. The island of Neuwerk and two small neighbouring islands Scharhörn and Nigehörn, in the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, are also part of Hamburg.
The neighbourhoods of Neuenfelde, Cranz, Francop and Finkenwerder are part of the Altes Land (old land) region, the largest contiguous fruit-producing region in Central Europe. Neugraben-Fischbek has Hamburg's highest elevation, the Hasselbrack at 116.2 metres (381 ft) AMSL.
The 2007 gross domestic product (GDP) totaled €85.9 billion. The city has a relatively high employment rate, at 88 percent of the working-age population, employed in over 120,000 businesses.The average income of employees was €30,937.
Hamburg has for centuries been a commercial centre of Northern Europe, and is the most important banking city of Northern Germany. The city is the seat of Germany's oldest bank, the Berenberg Bank, M.M.Warburg & CO and HSH Nordbank.
The most significant economic unit is the Port of Hamburg, which ranks second only to Rotterdam in Europe and ninth worldwide with transshipments of 9.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo and 134 million tons of goods in 2007. After German reunification, Hamburg recovered the eastern portion of its hinterland, becoming by far the fastest-growing port in Europe. International trade is also the reason for the large number of consulates in the city. Although situated 68 miles (110 km) up the Elbe, it is considered a sea port due to its ability to handle large ocean-going vessels. Hamburg, along with Seattle and Toulouse, is an important location of the civilaerospace industry. Airbus, which has an assembly plant in Finkenwerder, employs over 13,000 people.
Heavy industry includes the making of steel, aluminium, copper and shipyards such as Blohm + Voss.
The HafenCity is a new large urban development project in the Hamburg-Mitte district. It consists of the area of the Great Grasbrook, the northern part of the former Elbe island Grasbrook, and the warehouse district on the former Elbe island Kehrwieder and Wandrahm. It is bordered to the north, separated by the customs channel to Hamburg's city center, west and south by the Elbe and to the east, bounded by the upper harbor, Rothenburgsort. The district is full of rivers and streams and is surrounded by channels, and has a total area of about 2.2 square-kilometers.
HafenCity has 155 hectares in the area formerly belonging to the free port north of the Great Grasbrook. Residential units for up to 12,000 people are planned to be built on the site by around the mid-2020s, and jobs for up to 40,000 people, mainly in the office sector, should be created. It is the largest ongoing urban development project in Hamburg.
Construction work started in 2003, and in 2009 the first part of the urban development project was finished with the completion of the Dalmannkai / Sandtorkai neighborhood – which is the first stage of the HafenCity project. According to the person responsible for the development and commercialization of HafenCity, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, half of the master plan underlying structural construction is already completed, whereas the other half is either under construction or is in the construction preparation stages.
Many companies operating in E-Commerce have moved into HafenCity or started there. In addition to cruise agents such as the CaptainTravel GmbH many start-up companies that have no direct connection to the port or ships can be found in HafenCity.
Media businesses employ over 70,000 people. The Norddeutscher Rundfunkwhich includes the television station NDR Fernsehen is based in Hamburg, as are the commercial television stationHamburg 1, the Christian television station Bibel TV and the civil media outlet Tide TV. There are regional radio stations such as Radio Hamburg. Some of Germany's largest publishing companies,Axel Springer AG, Gruner + Jahr, Bauer Media Group are located in the city. Many national newspapers and magazines such as Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are produced in Hamburg, as well as some special-interest newspapers such as Financial Times Deutschland. Hamburger Abendblatt and Hamburger Morgenpost are daily regional newspapers with a large circulation. There are music publishers, such as Warner Bros. Records Germany, and ICT firms such as Adobe Systems and Google Germany. The Internet and telecommunications company HanseNet, which sells DSL Internet access under the Alice brand, has its headquarters in Hamburg.
Hamburg was one of the locations for the James Bond series film Tomorrow Never Dies. The Reeperbahn has been the location for many scenes, including the 1994 Beatles film Backbeat. The film A Most Wanted Man was set in and filmed in Hamburg.
New and old town, this is the heart of Hamburg from the iconic city hall to the shopping mile of Mönckebergstrasse and Hamburg’s answer to theLondon Docklands — Hafencity — with the old warehouse district.
St. Pauli with its main street Reeperbahn is the centre for nightlife and home to one of the world’s best known red-light districts. Further west along Elbe there’s the hip district of Altona with a Danish past.
Beginning with the lake Außenalster, the city’s north is rich in greenery and home to several parks and the city’s zoo.
|St.Georg and East|
The colorful St. Georg district is at the same time bohemian and luxurious and home to people from many different cultures. Further east there are the suburbs of Wandsbek and Billstedt.
|South of Elbe|
The cranes of one of the world’s major ports is visible far away. Though perhaps not the city’s major attraction, the port still defines the Hansestadt and is the home to the emigrant museum.
Contrary to what one might suspect from a city with such a cosmopolitan perspective and media presence, Hamburg does not have that many free WiFi spots. This is due to peculiar German legislation, which Hamburg's senate has decided to challenge in late 2014 with the goal of providing free wireless Internet at least in the city centre by 2020.
Until then, free WiFi can be obtained in main train stations (in particular,Hauptbahnhof and Hamburg-Altona) and in some cafes and restaurants. Do note that not all of gastronomic outlets provide free WiFi - do check before you sit down there to avoid disappointments. Another way is to simply buy a German prepaid SIM-card - as of 2015, 1GB can come as cheap as EUR 10, and 5GB at EUR 20. If you do not want to carry two phones or change the SIM-card in your regular phone, a solution can be to buy a standalone WiFi device to put the card into.
Prices in Hamburg
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.93|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€24.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€49.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.30|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€3.30|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€9.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€18.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.09|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€6.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.20|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€75.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€35.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€92.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€2.90|
55 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
220 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Hamburg Airport (IATA: HAM) is the fifth largest international airport in Germany, so arrival by plane is an obvious choice for those visiting from far away. There are plenty of connections within Europe, although only a few intercontinental direct services are offered.
The airport has been thoroughly modernized with new terminals, airport hotel, streamlined infrastructure, and facilities that are by and large adequate, so you won't get lost. Depending on the gate your flight arrives at or leaves from, walking longer distances might be necessary as on any other airport too.
Hamburg Airport is connected to the city by the S-Bahn S1 commuter train line, which connects to the Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and the city centre in about 30 minutes. There are trains every 10–20 minutes, and a single fare is €2.95. Beware on the way back from the city centre to the airport: All trains are divided at Ohlsdorf, with only the first three cars going to the airport, and the rest going to the suburb of Poppenbüttel. The stop at Ohlsdorf does last about two minutes as they uncouple the cars, giving passengers one more opportunity to make sure they're in the right train. There are no trains between midnight and 4 AM, but bus 606 runs along the same route. As there aren't any flights between 11PM and 6AM this may not affect your journey at all. Do consult the timetable for S1 for details. As of April 2016, the S1 line terminates in Ohlsdorf due to construction works, making it necessary to switch to U1 subway or to a rail replacement bus service to get into the city.
The airport, which is hugely popular with plane-spotters, is surrounded by Schrebergärten (meticulously maintained allotments), park lands, and open green spaces, criss-crossed by bicycle and walking trails. The popularity of this area is not only due to the many viewpoints, but also because Lufthansa Technik (Lufthansa's maintenance service) operates some large hangars on the airport, which means that the site is visited by a variety of rare and interesting aircraft (including VVIP).
On maps of Hamburg you can easily identify another airport, the Finkenwerder Airport (IATA: XFW) right on the Elbe's south bank. Unfortunately, this airport is closed to public passenger traffic, as it is the site of an Airbus assembly plant. You can, however go planespotting in the neighbourhood and even visit the facility on a guided tour.
Air Hamburg serves several German islands from this airport. The only way to reach it is by taxi, the nearest railway station being Tornesch.
Hamburg has five major stations: Hauptbahnhof (central station), Dammtor (Messe/CCH), Altona, Harburg and Bergedorf. Being a terminus for many ICE as well as Intercity lines, trains tend to stop twice or even three times in Hamburg. Various types of train service are available.
- ICE (Inter City Express) high speed train service to or from most major German cities, including Berlin, Cologne (Köln), Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich(München) also to Basel and Zürich Switzerland. There are usually hourly service to most destinations during the daytime.
- Direct service to or from Copenhagen and Aarhus (Denmark), Budapest(Hungary), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria), and Bratislava(Slovakia) (via Dresden).
Use the German railway's online trip planner to find connections to/from Hamburg and buy tickets.
Buses serving other cities (regional, national, and European destinations) arrive at or depart from Hamburg's central bus station ("ZOB"), which is located near the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof) (two minute walk). Destinations include Berlin (several times a day).
Buses to Lübeck depart from Wandsbek.
Buses to Bosnia are e.g. run by Salinea
via the Autobahn:
- A1 to/from Lübeck (north-east) — To get to the city change to the A24 at "Autobahnkreuz Ost".
- A1 to/from Bremen, Cologne (Köln) (south/south-west) — To get to the city change to A255.
- A7 to/from Flensburg, Kiel (north) — To get to the city exit at "Bahrenfeld".
- A7 to/from Hanover, Kassel (south)— To get to the city exit right after the "Elbtunnel" at "Othmarschen" or "Bahrenfeld". Use the rightmost pipe of the "Elbtunnel" to exit at "Othmarschen".
- A23 to/from Husum.
- A24 to/from Berlin.
Be prepared to pay for parking. Hamburg has a wide selection of P+R (Park+Ride) parking areas outside the city centre, where you can park for free and very easily use public transport to get into the city.
The Elbe Radweg one of the most popular cycle routes in Germany passes through Hamburg. As it follows the valley of the not very steep river Elbe for most of its course it is a good choice for inexperienced cyclists as well as aspiring Tour de France participants.
A lot of cruise ships visit Hamburg, so you may put your foot on Hamburg ground at one of the Cruise Centers. The most likely places are the Hamburg Cruise Center Altona (near to the fish market) and the Hamburg Cruise Center HafenCity (next to the new Unilever center), check out the Hamburg Cruise Center home page
- Hamburg Cruise Center HafenCity, Chicagokai.
- Hamburg Cruise Center Altona (Dockland).
Lübeck's port suburb Travemünde, about an hour away by train, is a major Baltic ferry port.
Transportation - Get Around
Hamburg is an extensive city given its over 700km2, and visitor attractions are not all contained within the city centre. Fortunately, getting around is made easy by the extensive public transportation system. Walking is a good way of getting around in the centre, as pretty much around every corner is a sight to behold or a scenic lookout you might have missed otherwise. As many Hamburgers do, you may also opt to bike around. Driving is made relatively easy too by the wide thoroughfares intersecting the city in every direction, parking is paid but rates palatable and there is no requirement for your car to have an Umweltplakette.
By Public Transport
Hamburg's public transportation system, operated by the HVV, consists of:
- six S-Bahn (commuter railway) lines,
- four U-Bahn (subway) lines
- seven R-lines (regional trains),
- three A-lines (AKN)
- a dense network of bus lines,
- as well as ferries across the Elbe.
Hamburg has The S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines run partly over and underground, in the city, and in the outskirts. Sometimes you might meet the diesel powered AKN train as well in the northern districts. The only difference is that these are three companies, but there is a unified fare system.
All train platforms have signs showing the next train, where it is headed, and how many minutes until it arrives. Trains are described by a number and the final station. Note that the final station may vary. For example, half of the S1 trains heading west go all the way to Wedel, but the other half go only as far as Blankenese.
Note that train doors do not open automatically. You have to press a button or pull a handle on the door. Wait for the passengers to get off first before you enter. In the cold season, close the door after getting on the train if it looks like a longer stop. Either push the handle or press the closing buttons on the inside until the door is closed. All signs and notifications at stations and in trains are shown in at least two languages (German and English).
S-Bahn stations are marked with a green "S" and are often colocated with major long-distance railway stations and U-Bahn stations, allowing convenient transfers. While the S-Bahn logo is green, the trains are white-and-red like most German trains, and operated by Deutsche Bahn and feature a DB logo rather than the "S". It is easy to get confused by the variety of similar DB trains, so it is good to make sure you are boarding the S-Bahn you want and not a regional train.
There are six S-Bahn lines in Hamburg, with some confusing numbering and arrangements.
- all S-Bahn trains with single-digit numbers take the south underground route via Jungfernstieg, Landungsbrücken and Reeperbahn,
- while all S-Bahn trains with two-digit numbers take the north route via Dammtor, Sternschanze (Messe) and Holstenstraße.
All of the lines meet at Hauptbahnhof, which is also a station for all U-Bahn lines, and all lines save for the S21 also meet at Hamburg-Altona. From there, the S-Bahn lines radiate in 5 different directions.
- S1 links the far westward Wedel in Schleswig-Holstein and the neighbourhood of Blankenese with Poppenbüttel in the far north. In an unusual and potentially confusing arrangement, the first three cars of every train go to Hamburg Airport instead of Poppenbüttel, the division occurs at the station of Ohldorf. Note that the train reverses direction in Blankenese, so if you get on west of Blankenese, you have to take the last three cars to be in the front after the change of direction.
There is, however, an announcement made on the train (also in English) before the trains are separated to let you know if you are in a car going to the airport or not.
- S11 is a truncated version of S1 operated in peak hours only, without the option to go to the Airport. This means that there is no direct link between the Airport and Messe Hamburg.
- S2, confusingly, is a rush-hour-only service that runs between Altona in the west and Bergedorf in the south-east.
- S21, a permanent service, is even more confusingly running along a different route than S2. It reaches farther south-eastwise, down to the suburb ofAumühle, but does not go to Altona and instead to Elbgaustraße in the far northwest.
- S3 serves both sides of the Elbe - in a winding loop, it starts on its southern (left) bank in Stade in Lower Saxony, runs all the way east throughNeugraben to cross the river at Hammerbrook and then through the Hauptbahnhof further east to both Altona and Elbgaustrasse
- S31 is a truncated express version of S3 from Neugraben to Altona, operating permanently but skipping or alternating stations between peak hours and regular daytime.
S-Bahn runs from approximately 5AM until 1AM in the central city, but there is often no service past 11PM in outlying districts. On weekends, it runs all night.
There are four U-Bahn (subway/underground) lines in Hamburg. They all run through the city centre and meet at Hauptbahnhof (although they stop at two separate stations - U1 and U3 at Hauptbahnhof-Süd, while U2 and U4 atHauptbahnhof-Nord - both at opposite ends of the large Hauptbahnhof complex):
- U1 (blue) forms a huge V with the bottom south in the Altstadt and top northern ends (both actually splitting in two) into residential suburbs. This line may be useful if you want to visit the western bank of Aussenalster, as it has stations relatively close to it.
- U2 (red) runs from the east to northwest. One particularly useful feature is that it stops at Messehallen (fairgrounds), allowing one to quickly move there from Jungfernsteig.
- U3 (yellow) is by far the most useful to a tourist, as it forms a loop around theAltstadt and Aussenalster. It can take you to the Rathaus, the old harbour (next to HafenCity), Landungsbrücken, St. Pauli and even to the Stadtpark. It also stops at Sternschanze, the other entrance to the Messe (fairgrounds). While the loop is around the Aussenalster in the broad sense, none of the U3 stations are close to it, so you need to change to a bus line to get to the lake.
- U4 (aqua) shares the eastern branch with the U2, but rather than northwest it loops south to HafenCity.
All U-Bahn lines except U3 meet at Jungfernstieg, though U3 stops at the nearby Rathaus station and is accessible through an underground passage.
Note that none of the lines goes to Altona - you need to take the S-Bahn or a bus to get there. U-Bahn runs from approximately 5AM until 1AM in the central city, but there is often no service past 11PM in outlying districts. On weekends, it runs all night.
Buses go around the clock. At night, a special "Nachtbus" (night bus) service connects the outlying districts and the city center. These buses depart and arrive at "Rathausmarkt", near the town hall and operate all through the night. Night buses are recognizable by their numbers which reach from 600 to 688.
Apart from regular and nighttime bus lines, there are also Metrobus lines, designed to carry heavy loads on the most popular routes, in a way replacing a tram system that Hamburg does not have (similar arrangement as in Berlin). Metrobuses are designed to serve commuters mostly, and as such are not that useful to the tourists - in fact most lines do not even reach the core city centre. Public transport lovers will be delighted, however, to know that those lines are served by the longest bi-articulated low-floor buses in the world (the Van Hool AGG 300, also used by public transport operators in Utrecht).
Six ferry services operate in the harbour and along the River Elbe as part of the regular public transport system.
Tip: take ferry line 62 from "Landungsbrücken" to "Finkenwerder" und then line 64 to "Teufelsbrück" or take ferry line 72 from "Landungsbrücken" in the HafenCity to "Elbphilharmonie". Sit back to enjoy a scenic trip through the harbour on a day ticket.
Single tickets range from 1.50 € or 2 € for short trips and 3 € for Hamburg area to 11.10 € - 18.30 € for the entirety of Greater Hamburg. Vending machines in the rail stations (and at some bus stops) sell short-distance, single-ride, and day tickets. Group tickets are also available. On the buses, the driver will sell you what you need.
An all-day ticket for Hamburg area (Ganztageskarte) costs 7.30 € (2014), but if you start your travel after 9AM or weekend, buy a "9 Uhr Tageskarte" (5.90 €, Group Ticket up to 5 persons: 10.80 €). You can also buy a Hamburg Card, which includes the public transport system, museums, and other things, and is available at all ticket offices and from the bus drivers. To buy tickets for a week or longer, go to Hauptbahnhof or station Altona, get passport photos in the automated photo booth, and buy your pass in the information office.
If you are traveling to Hamburg using a Niedersachsen-Ticket (Lower-Saxony-Ticket), Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern(Mecklenburg-West-Pommerania-Ticket) for one to five people (22 - 39 €), you have access to all the HVV lines.
Hamburg's public transit operates on a proof-of-payment system. Officials in red waistcoats make spot checks, but aside from that, you simply get on and off as you wish with no turnstiles or gates. You are required to show your ticket while entering a bus to the driver though. The exception are the crowded bus lines 4, 5 and 6, except after 21h and on Sundays.
Try to avoid rush-hour before 9AM and between 4-7PM. You are not allowed to take bicycles into subways before 9AM and between 4-6PM, unless it is a folding bike like a Dahon, Brompton, Bike Friday, etc. Folders are allowed on Hamburg public transit at any time of the day.
On the two Alster lakes, a ferry boat travels once every hour from Jungfernstieg in the city centre to Winterhuder Fährhaus. These boats are not in the general HVV ticket system, thus more expensive, however, they offer a splendid view to some of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Hamburg.
There is a good supply of taxis in Hamburg 24 hours a day, both at taxi stands and in the streets. You can identify a taxi rank by a green box on a post somewhat like an oversized parking meter or alarm post. You will have to wait there or phone one of the numbers below, since the boxes can not be used to call a cab. Almost all vehicles are still in the traditional ivory white colour, but even if not, a yellow and black sign on the roof reading "Taxi" indicates a licensed cab. As usual, the sign is switched on to indicate vacancies. The taxi start at € 2.90 plus € 2.20/km. A trip in the city area will between € 7-15. For a trip from the city to the airport, expect to pay between € 20-30. Most taxis accept credit card payments.
You will see a lot of bicycles on the roads during the warmer months, many of the cities residents will use bicycles as their normal form of transportation. Drive ways for bicycles are not available on all roads. In fact you will have to shift from on the road to a mixed foot / bike strip to a separated bike strip frequently. Drive safely! Several hotels within Hamburg provide residents with access to hotel bicycles.
The city itself also offers bike rental services. This service is called StadtRad, and there are several kiosks located around the city. To use this service, customers must register On the Stadtrad website and create an account with a credit card. Once the account has been created, you can go to any one of these terminals and use one of their bikes as long as you want. The first 30 minutes are free, the next time coast 8 Cent/min. and the maximum charge is € 12 per day.
Alternatively, Hamburg City Cycles (working with the bicycle store next door) rents bicycles for €23 for 2 days and €7 for each additional day. Hourly rates are also available. The bicycles are large "cruiser" style bikes and the rental includes a lock, air pump, and toolkit if desired.
You can take your bike with you on the harbor ferries (e.g. line 62) free of charge.
There are generally 2 options:
- Parking in the city centre: most possibly, you will have to pay for parking. However, the maximum fee is €12 for 24 hours. This is a viable option if you would like to walk around the central area and you/your friends will not use the public transport.
- Parking in HVV P+R (Park & Ride): HVV offers free parking lots outside of the city centre. The idea is that you leave your car there and use the public transport to get around. If you and/or your company merely would like to travel around the city centre on foot, the first option is cheaper and makes more sense.
Hint: something in between the two options: select a suitable area of the city with good public transport link were you can park your car next to the road and then take the bus or subway (e.g. areas next to the bus line 5 or the U1)
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The main shopping area of Hamburg is the Mönckebergstraße in the centre of the city. This area features the stores you're guaranteed to find in major German cities such as Galeria Kaufhof, Karstadt, C&A and Saturn and further west fashion stores of common international brands. Take the subway to either central station, Rathaus (town hall), or Mönckebergstraße. Also check the side-street Spitalerstraße. Northwest of town hall towards Gänsemarkt are the more pricey shops like Hugo Boss.
The Schanzenviertel is also getting more popular nowadays for unique designer boutiques. Younger people especially enjoy being here. Subway "Sternschanze"/"Feldstraße"
Shops are mostly open daily 10AM—8PM and on Thursday and Friday until 10PM.
Original Hamburg dishes are Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (Low Saxon Beren, Bohnen un Speck, green runner beans cooked with pears and bacon), Aalsuppe(Low Saxon Aalsupp/Oolsupp, often mistaken to be German for “eel soup“ (Aal/Ool translated ‘eel’), however the name probably comes from the Low Saxon allens[ʔaˑlns], meaning “all”, “everything and the kitchen sink”, not necessarily eel. Today eel is often included to meet the expectations of unsuspecting diners.), Bratkartoffeln(Low Saxon Braatkantüffeln/Brootkantüffeln, pan-fried potato slices), Finkenwerder Scholle (Low Saxon Finkwarder Scholl, pan-fried plaice), Pannfisch (pan-fried fish),Rote Grütze (Low Saxon Rode Grütt, related to Danish rødgrød, a type of summer pudding made mostly from berries and usually served with cream, like Danishrødgrød med fløde) and Labskaus (a mixture of corned beef, mashed potatoes and beetroot, a cousin of the Norwegian lapskaus and Liverpool's Scouse (food), all offshoots off an old-time one-pot meal that used to be the main component of the common sailor's humdrum diet on the high seas).
Alsterwasser in Hamburg (a reference to the city's river Alster with two lake-like bodies in the city centre thanks to damming), a type of, a concoction of equal parts of beer and carbonated lemonade (Zitronenlimonade), the lemonade being added to the beer. Mexikaner is another local specialty, a shot drink with vodka (or similar), tomato juice, chili and Worcester sauce that resembles a bloody Mary, but is knocked back in one go. There is a lot of good-natured rivalry between bars as to who can concoct the best Mexikaner, so if the concept appeals, be sure to taste how it differs from place to place.
Hamburg is also home to a curious regional dessert pastry called Franzbrötchen. Looking rather like a flattened croissant, the Franzbrötchen is somewhat similar in preparation but includes a cinnamon and sugar filling, often with raisins or brown sugar. The name may also reflect to the roll's croissant-like appearance – franzappears to be a shortening of französisch, meaning "French", which would make aFranzbrötchen a “French roll.” Being a Hamburg regional food, the Franzbrötchenbecomes quite scarce outside the borders of the city; as near as Lüneburg it can only be found as a Hamburger and is not available in Bremen at all.
Ordinary bread rolls tend to be oval-shaped and of the French bread variety. The local name is Rundstück (“round piece” rather than mainstream German Brötchen, diminutive form of Brot “bread”), a relative of Denmark's rundstykke. In fact, while by no means identical, the cuisines of Hamburg and Denmark, especially of Copenhagen have a lot in common. This also includes a predilection for open-faced sandwiches of all sorts, especially topped with cold-smoked or pickled fish. The American hamburger seems to have developed from Hamburg's Frikadelle: a pan-fried patty (usually larger and thicker than the American counterpart) made from a mixture of ground beef, soaked Staling, egg, chopped onion, salt and pepper, usually served with potatoes and vegetables like any other piece of meat, not usually on a bun. Many Hamburgers consider their Frikadelle and the American hamburger different, virtually unrelated. The Oxford Dictionary defined a Hamburger steak in 1802: a sometimes-smoked and -salted piece of meat, that, according to some sources, came from Hamburg to America.
Every day, you can get vegetarian food for donation (€1.50) in different places check out on this site.
In the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), there are a lot of snack bars to have a quick meal. While there are probably not many vegetarian snack bars, there is a fairly decent selection of veggie food to be found, such as croissants with brie cheese and meat-free pizza slices.
Coffe & Drink
If you want to relax and drink a coffee in some cafes go to Lange Reihe. Many bars, cafes and restaurants all along the street. Although the Lange Reihe is the heart of the gay community, most places are jointly visited by straight and gay people of any age. All places are gay-friendly, many are gay-owned or gay-run, but not all of them.
Sights & Landmarks
The entirety of the city centre is worth walking throughout, as it is jam-packed with varied and truly interesting sights. Those range from the iconic Speicherstadt and Hamburg's five main historic churches, through the upscale area around theBinnenalster artificial lake and the town hall (Rathaus) to the ultra-modern Hafen-City. The centre is where the majority of Hamburg's canals and bridges are, as well as the old quays providing great views across the Elbe. There is also an unusual array of museums to visit.
St. Pauli is the bustling district for party, non-mainstream shopping and Hamburg's largest funfair. The city's trade fairground (Messe Hamburg) and CCH (Conference Centre Hamburg) are also there. Altona has a long quay, with both the historicLandungsbrücken and parts still in active use, such as the Cruise Terminal and fishing harbour.
St. Georg immediately east of the Hauptbahnhof is a warm and welcoming area full of cafes and renowned for its gay culture, and it has the most upscale part ofAußenalster's lakeside. The North is the greenest part of Hamburg, with the rest ofAußenalster and numerous other parks, like Hagenbecks Tierpark the famous Zoo established 1907 by Carl Hagenbeck, who was the pioneer behind "Zoos without bars".
The South is a mostly industrial area, with some unexpectedly interesting views of the decoratively lit up Borhardt quays and the planespotter's favourite Finkenwerder airport. Further south is the historic Harburg, formerly an independent city
Hamburg publishes a thick, detailed booklet of local museums called "Museumswelt Hamburg". You can find the Museumswelt Hamburg at the information desk at any of the museums. Hamburg is part of the worldwide Global Greeter Network (free sightseeing tours given by local volunteers).
Museums & Galleries
Hamburg has several large museums and galleries showing classical and contemporary art, for example the Kunsthalle Hamburg with its contemporary art gallery (Galerie der Gegenwart), the Museum for Art and Industry (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe) and theDeichtorhallen/House of Photography. TheInternationales Maritimes Museum Hamburgopened in the HafenCity quarter in 2008. There are various specialised museums in Hamburg, such as the Archaeological Museum Hamburg (Archäologisches Museum Hamburg) in Hamburg-Harburg, the Museum of Labour (Museum der Arbeit), and several museums of local history, for example the Kiekeberg Open Air Museum (Freilichtmuseum am Kiekeberg). Two museum ships near Landungsbrücken bear witness to the freight ship (Cap San Diego) and cargo sailing ship era (Rickmer Rickmers). The world's largest model railway museum Miniatur Wunderland with 15.4 km (9.57 mi) total railway length is also situated near Landungsbrücken in a former warehouse.
BallinStadt Emigration City is dedicated to the millions of Europeans who emigrated to North and South America between 1850 and 1939. Visitors descending from those overseas emigrants may search for their ancestors at computer terminals.
Things to do
Ferries across Elbe
You can make a trip on the river Elbe with the line 72 from Landungsbrücken to Elbphilharmonie, or the line 62 about Museumshafen Oevelgönne to Finkenwerder, and the line 64 to Teufelsbrück. Bicycles free of charge. Adults one trip: €1.90/€2.95, day card: €5.80/€7.10, incl. S+U-Bahn and Bus (2013).
The best way to explore Hamburg's extensive waterways (Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam, Venice and London combined) is on a ferry or pleasure boat. A variety of boat tours lasting from 50 minutes to 3 hours depart regularly from the Jungfernstieg on the Inner Alster lake. The exact offer varies depending on the season, so do check in advance or at the landing stage to see what's available. The simplest and shortest tour is the Alsterrundfahrt or Alster tour that lasts 50 minutes and takes in the Inner and Outer Alster lakes (adults: €15). The small cruise boats are often hired for weddings. One is an old steamer. Contact Alster Touristik on 35 74 24-0 or check out the website at www.alstertouristik.de.
Theatre, Opera and Musicals
Hamburg has an opera house, venues where classical music is performed and many theaters. The city offers a number of different musicals, as well as other music events. Most of these venues are located either in the central or the eastern parts of the city. If you prefer less formal venues, head to St. Pauli.
- Neue Flora: Das Phantom der Operproduced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
- Operettenhaus: ROCKY - Das Musical
- Theater im Hafen: König der Löwen(The Lion King) produced by Disney.
Note that all musicals are in German language, regardless of their origin. If you're still interested, make sure to buy tickets early, many shows are sold-out. But, midweek there is a good chance that you will be able to buy last minute tickets at a highly discounted price of €40 regardless of price category, age, or occupation.
- Watch a home soccer game by one of the city's teams HSV in the Bundesliga and FC St.Pauli in the 2. Bundesliga.
- Hamburg Blue Devils — Fourfold German American Football Champion due to financial struggles they had to relegate themselves into a lower division prior to the 2014 season. Currently making their way up through the leagues.
- Hamburg Huskies American Football play in the first division German Football league since 2015
- Hamburg Stealers HSV-aligned baseball club, with field located near Hamburg Airport.
- HSV Handball is the local (Olympic) handball team, playing their matches at the modern o2 World Hamburg (formerly Colorline-Arena), right next to the Volksparkstadion.
- Hamburg Freezers share o2 world with HSV Handball. The premier-league ice hockey team features many international top class players.
- The German Open in Men's Tennis are held at the Rothenbaum in Hamburg. The tournament is one of nine ATP Masters Series tournaments.
- Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship, at the Gut Kaden Golf and Land Club. Golf tournament of world class, prize money €600,000.
- Vattenfall Cyclassics — World Cup and public bike race.
- Holsten City Man — The only German Triathlon World Cup.
- Conergy Marathon Hamburg — Usually in spring, open to the public.
There are a number of small beaches on the North side of the Elbe river between Övelgönne and Blankenese. Even though not common, it is safe to swim in the Elbe there (if you don't swim out too far). You may have a barbecue there in the evenings, as long as you bring a grill and clean up after yourself. Watch out for surprisingly large waves created by large ships passing by and stay clear at least 50m of any structure in or reaching into the water!
In addition, there are a usually number of commercial beach clubs during the summer, usually between Fischmarkt and Övelgönne. Other than the name might indicate, these are bars open to the public.
The best way to come to the most popular beach is to take the harbour-ferry bus from the Landungsbrücken station to Neumühlen/Övelgönne.
- There are some OpenAir Festivals around Hamburg. One is the Wutzrock Festival. It is free of charge and near the city, so you might check it out if you happen to visit Hamburg in late August. It takes place at the "Eichbaumsee" next to the Trainstation "Mittlerer Landweg" (via S-Bahn 21 to Aumuehle/Bergedorf) usually the last weekend of August.
- Wacken Open Air.
Festivals and events
- Night of Museums in April is big in Hamburg (next: 2015 April 18). Over fifty places take part and are open till 2AM. Entrance to museums is not free, but the cost is symbolic, ticket everywhere (plus public transportation) costs 12 € (discounted 8 €).
- Fischmarkt (Fish Market) — Every Sunday morning vendors praise wares of virtually every type at Hamburg's oldest open-air market, dating back to 1703. The market takes place at the foot of the century-old Fish Auction Hall, where live-bands perform jazz, skiffle, country, or western music. Open every Sunday from 5AM-9:30AM, in winter from 7AM-9:30AM.
- Hafengeburtstag (Harbour Birthday).Every year in May the harbour birthday attracts millions of people. Dozens of stands and stages, a ship parade, and changing events are organized to celebrate the cities spring of wealth. The harbour filled 800 years in 1989. Since then, the Harbour Birthday grew the greatest harbour party in the world. It is generally in early May.
- Kirschblütenfest (Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival). On May 19, the Japanese community of Hamburg celebrates the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival by the Lake Alster. Enormous fireworks and a peaceful atmosphere are characteristics of this event.
- Hamburger Dom. The Dom is one of the largest fairs in Germany. The streets of the fairground, lined on both sides with stalls and rides, are some 3.3 km long. It takes place in spring, summer, and early winter for the duration of one month each.
Watch out for neighbourhood and street parties during summertime. Some of the biggest are:
- Altonale, in Ottensen.
- Bergedorfer Stadtfest, in Bergedorf.
- Osterstraßenfest, in Eimsbüttel.
- Schanzenfest, in Schanzenviertel is self-organized and full of peace and happiness until it ends around 10PM in fighting between a crowd and the police.
- Stuttgarter Weindorf — Vintners from southern Germany present their products at the Rathausmarkt (town hall square).
- Schlagermove Parade, a parody on the Berlin Loveparade with schlager instead of techno music.
- Hamburg Pride, the Gay Pride Parade usually takes place in August and moves from the Central Station through the shopping streets to end at the Jungfernstieg with the set up party tents.
- Carnival of Cultures, a colourful and interesting parade showing off worldwide cultures.
Safety in Hamburg
Hamburg is generally a safe city. Watch out for pickpockets, especially in the area around the Mönckebergstrasse, Central Station, on the Reeperbahn, in buses and trains, but also on crowded escalators and any other crowded places. Keep your distance from protest marches unless you wish to get involved: both leftist groups and the Hamburg police are known for their heavy reactions in such situations.
Bathing in the River Elbe is possible but, of course, you must keep out of the way of ships. Swimmers can be thrown about and even totally swamped by the wake from ocean liners. Swimmers should also stay away from structures in the river and strictly avoid an area about 50 m around those extending into the river.
Strong underwater swirls going down as deep as 10–15 m and even close to the beach may pull the strongest swimmers under water. When relaxing on one of the beaches along the riverside, keep several metres away from the water's edge and keep an eye on children playing in or near the water. Container ships passing by sometimes create surprisingly large waves that won't just get your feet wet on the beach, but may also drag you into the Elbe.
Swimming in the Outer Alster lake is possible, though swimmers are rarely seen. The water is fairly clean. The lake is only about 2–3 metres deep.
Important phone numbers in emergency (dial without any local prefix all over Germany/always free of charge):
112 = Medical emergency and fire department
110 = Police
Note that the Hamburg police wear dark-blue uniforms, unlike the federal German police and many of the other state police forces in Germany, which still wear green uniforms.
Tap water is very clean and you can drink it without any exception, even use it to provide baby food.